Research Spotlight: COVID-19 Clinical and Research Studies

Dr. Rohit Mohindra and Dr. Michelle Greiver

North York General Hospital (NYGH) has launched several COVID-19 clinical and research studies, involving multiple frontline physicians and staff members from different programs across the hospital to advance our understanding and ability to treat this virus. Dr. Rohit Mohindra, a physician in the Charlotte & Lewis Steinberg Emergency and Dr. Michelle Greiver, Gordon F. Cheesbrough Research Chair in Family and Community Medicine provide a snapshot of their COVID-19 studies, as well as their thoughts on the future of this disease.

Dr. Rohit Mohindra – Emergency Department COVID-19 study

  • Could you tell us a bit about the COVID-19 study you are performing?
    Dr. Mohindra: The COVID-19 pandemic has forced NYGH’s Emergency Department (ED) to quickly adapt to many new challenges. Many of these challenges require frequent evaluation and redesign of the physical ED space and/or optimization of patient flow within the department. Additionally, care pathways are being adopted to reduce risk of aerosol generating medical procedures, which put our staff and other patients at risk for COVID-19 infection. Our project aims to capture these ongoing innovations to ensure they are providing the intended benefits. 
  • What is the importance of your COVID-19 study within a community hospital setting?
    Dr. Mohindra: Adaptations in the ED are happening rapidly as our response to the COVID-19 pandemic evolves. First, we want to ensure these initiatives are having the intended effect. Second, other areas within NYGH may benefit from our shared experiences. The majority of acute care is provided in community hospitals, by sharing our successes with other EDs in Canada and around the world patients and families will benefit.
  • How do you see the future of COVID-19? 
    Dr. Mohindra: COVID-19 will certainly affect emergency department care for the foreseeable future. We want to ensure that the ED is well prepared to provide safe and efficient care, while being ready for whatever the future might hold. 

Dr. Michelle Greiver – Electronic Medical Records during COVID-19 study

  • Could you tell us a bit about the COVID-19 study you are performing?
    Dr. Greiver: If we could predict which patients with type 2 diabetes, under normal circumstances, are less likely to attend their doctors’ appointments, do their laboratory tests and/or be prescribed recommended medications, we could better plan outreach visits to those patients using virtual care.  With the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic the idea of virtual care for patients with diabetes is especially relevant due to physical distancing guidelines, which mean these patients will be unable to receive their usual in-person care every three months.
  • What is the importance of your COVID-19 study within a community hospital setting?
    Dr. Greiver: We are looking at questions that impact many patients. Using de-identified data from family physicians’ electronic medical records, can we predict which patients with type 2 diabetes in North York already lack guideline-recommended services? Can this approach be used to plan care for underserved patients with chronic conditions during the COVID 19 crisis?

    Patients with diabetes that don’t attend their regular appointments and are already missing care elements such as blood pressure measurements are not currently contacted to help them get the care needed, which might result in even higher risks of death and complications like blindness, amputations or heart attacks. This project will enable us to predict which group of patients are especially vulnerable in our community, using data from those with difficulties getting care in the past.  
  • How do you see the future of COVID-19? 
    Dr. Greiver: We will have an increase in the risk of COVID-19 as more restrictions are relaxed. If we are smart about using data to quickly identify people that are ill, trace all their contacts and isolate them, we could help prevent spread. We also need to be careful about protecting privacy and safely using data for the public good. 

    Our community has very high participation for de-identified data used in research and for better health in Canada, and this latest project is one example of this.  We see examples of data used for important reporting on the pandemic every day.  NYGH is a leader in exceptional care, and in data to improve care.  
Share this article